Goffe, Stephen (DNB00)

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GOFFE or GOUGH, STEPHEN, D.D. (1605–1681), royalist agent and catholic divine, born at Stanmer, Sussex, in 1605, was son of Stephen Goffe, the puritan rector there. He was educated at Merton College, Oxford (B.A. 1623, and M.A. 1627). Afterwards he migrated to St. Alban Hall. He then became chaplain to the regiment of Colonel Horace Vere in the Low Countries. He entered Leyden university 20 Feb. 1633. On his return home he was, by the interest of Henry Jermyn (afterwards Earl of St. Albans) appointed one of Charles I's chaplains, and he was created D.D. in 1636. Subsequently he was employed by the court party as an agent in France, Flanders, Holland, and other countries. A letter written in 1648 from the Hague mentions that he had 1,000l. a year for being supervisor to Sir William Boswell. Goffe was one of those who attempted to free the king from his confinement at Hampton Court. He was seized upon suspicion and committed to prison, but found means to escape. The king when at Carisbrooke Castle employed him to persuade the Scottish commissioners to recede from their demand that he should confirm the covenant.

Wood says that when Goffe saw the church of England ruined and the monarchy declining he changed his religion for that of Rome, and entered the congregation of the French Oratory in a seminary at Notre-Dame des Vertus, not far from Paris. Clarendon alleges that out of the money sent from Moscow for Charles II Goffe received 800l. for services he had performed, and within a few days after the receipt of it changed his religion and became one of the fathers of the Oratory (Hist. of the Rebellion, ed. 1849, v. 255). It is stated by Le Quien that he was admitted into the congregation of the Oratory on 14 Jan. 1651–2, and afterwards received at Paris all the orders of the catholic church according to the Roman pontifical. On the testimony of Obadiah Walker, ‘an eminent papist,’ Dr. Humphrey Prideaux, dean of Norwich, asserted that after joining the Roman communion Goffe celebrated mass at Paris by virtue of his having been ordained priest in the church of England, and that the doctors of the Sorbonne, after fully discussing the matter, declared their opinion that the Anglican orders were good, but the pope determined otherwise, and ordered the Archbishop of Paris to re-ordain him (Validity of the Orders of the Church of England, edit. 1716, p. 78). Dodd, the ecclesiastical historian, and other catholic writers, strenuously deny, however, that the doctors of the Sorbonne ever made such a declaration (Gillow, Dict. of the English Catholics, ii. 508).

Goffe rose to be superior of the community, an office which he held in 1655. At that time he provided plentifully for fourteen English clergymen in the house under his direction, and was a common father to the English exiles, both catholic and protestant, during the Commonwealth. He gave freely from his private resources, and his interest with Queen Henrietta Maria, whose chaplain he was, enabled him to assist innumerable gentlemen in distress. It was on his recommendation that Henry, lord Jermyn (afterwards Earl of St. Albans), took Cowley under his protection. By the queen-mother's orders Gough was appointed tutor to Charles II's natural son, James Crofts (afterwards Duke of Monmouth), and took charge of him till he was ten years of age, when he committed him to the care of Thomas Ross, librarian to Charles II. He died in the house of the fathers of the Oratory in the Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris, on Christmas day (O.S.) 1681.

He was, says Wood, ‘esteemed by some a learned man and well read in the Fathers, and therefore respected by Gerard John Vossius and others.’ He was the brother of John Goffe, D.D. [q. v.], and of Colonel William Goffe [q. v.], the regicide.

Nine of his Latin epistles to Vossius are printed in ‘G. J. Vossii et clarorum Virorum ad eum Epistolæ, collectore P. Colomesio,’ London, 1690, fol.; and two others are in ‘Præstantium ac Eruditorum Virorum Epistolæ Ecclesiasticæ et Theologicæ,’ Amsterdam, 1704, fol. His letters (1632–7) to Sir William Boswell [q. v.], English resident at the Hague, on the subject of the reading of the Anglican liturgy in the English regiments in the Dutch service, are preserved in the Addit. MS. 6394. Some parliamentary scribblers published a scandalous work entitled ‘The Lord George Digby's Cabinet and Dr. Goff's Negotiations; together with his Majesties, the Queen's, and the Lord Jermin's, and other Letters taken at the Battle of Sherborn, about the 15th Oct. last,’ London, 1646, 4to.

[Addit. MS. 6394, f. 173*; Baker's MS. xxxv. 106; Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion, 1849, iv. 371, 373; Clarendon State Papers, 1786, iii. 418; Calendar of the Clarendon State Papers, i. 549, ii. 489; Cosin's Works, iv. 464; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 305; Estcourt's Question of Anglican Orders discussed, p. 142; Evelyn's Memoirs, i. 12, 360, ii. 134–7; Gardiner's Hist. of England, vii. 316; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Laud's Works, vi. 347, 529; Lee's Validity of Anglican Orders, p. 293; Legenda Lignea, 1653, pp. 144–154; Le Quien, Nullité des Ordinations Anglicanes, ii. 316; Lingard's Hist. of England, 1849, viii. 191; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ix. 246, 4th ser. xii. 408, 5th ser. vi. 296; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 525, 905, 1103, iv. 131, Fasti, i. 414, 431, 494, ii. 136, 210.]

T. C.